For the final time Alfa Romeo lift the covers off a Formula 1 car, the C43

Michelle Foster

Alfa Romeo's sponsorship of the Sauber team concluded at the end of the 2023 season.

For the final time, the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team has taken the covers off their 2023 car, unveiling the Stake-branded C43 in an online launch.

Alfa Romeo teamed up with Sauber in 2019, the Italian carmaker joining forces with the Hinwil team in a title partnership deal.

But with Audi set to arrive in 2026, the German manufacturer having already acquired a reported 25 percent stake in the team, Alfa Romeo are bowing out at the end of this season.

This year’s C43 is therefore the last car that will carry the Alfa Romeo branding together with its dark red and black livery.

Although Alfa Romeo was the fourth team to launch their 2023 season, following on from Haas, Red Bull and Williams, unlike the other teams, they revealed not only their colours for the season but a car. It was, however, a show car based on the 2023 C43.

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Technical director Jan Monchaux said: “The project started a couple of weeks after last year’s roll-out where we started drafting the strategy for 2023.

“We identified areas where we need to unleash, and concentrated mainly on the rear part of the car where we wanted to be brave enough to do the next step which opened the door to other solutions we couldn’t implement last year.

“There is also a lot of things we changed on the car and also internally in our processes. It’s clearly one of the major focuses for us this last winter.”

Given the stability in the regulations, this year’s C43 is an evolution of last season’s Alfa Romeo barring a few tweaks that involve the sizes of the mirrors and the roll hopes.

However, the biggest change is to the floors with the FIA stepping in last season in a bid to minimise porpoising. That means this year the teams have had to raise the floor edges by 15mm, the diffuser throat height has been raised and the diffuser edge stiffness has been increased.

“Slightly irritated by the timing which usually favours bigger outfits,” Monchaux admitted.

“Changes are mainly on the floor side, floor edges 15mm. It doesn’t sound a lot but it’s enough to keep us scratching our head and having to do all the floor and rear end of the car. I’m pretty happy about the progress we did.”

The car will be raced by Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo retaining the same line-up for a second successive season with the new team-mates having brought home sixth place last season when they held off Aston Martin in the season-finale.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, the newly appointed team representative, isn’t setting any targets for 2023.

“We don’t want to fix targets, always difficult to know where we stand, where our competitors stand,” said the Italian.

“We want to improve in all areas. We don’t talk about a single target but want to be more consistent.”

There is, however, one big change with former team boss Fred Vasseur having moved to Ferrari in the off-season with Sauber signing McLaren’s Andreas Seidl as the Group’s new CEO.

He will be assisted by Alessandro Alumna Bravi, who will be Alfa Romeo’s team representative at grand prix weekends.

This frees up Seidl to focus on the upcoming partnership with Audi.

The C43 will officially make its on-track debut on 23 February when the teams take to the Bahrain International Circuit for the start of the three-day pre-season test.

The team will conduct a shakedown in Spain later this week.